According to NASUWT, 4 out of 5 teachers have experienced some form of bullying in the workplace. This is an extraordinarily high number of people who are admitting to feeling that they are bullied, either by adults or children. ‘Where is the support?’, asks a deputy head in Tes.
Data on whistleblowing within education is notoriously difficult to find. With the rise of large Mats, this data may become even more difficult to locate within disparate groups of trusts. Why would you advertise your rate of whistleblowing, let alone the impact and consequences? Mats, like any large organisation, sing their own positive praises, not share their failings.
What totally confounds me is the “do as I say, not as I do” culture that pervades education like the bad smell of fruit infested with the flies of hypocrisy.
As is only right and proper, bullying is a hugely important item on any school agenda. Time, money, training and effort is ploughed into prevention. Both the perpetrators and victims are supported to ensure any unruly behaviour is well and truly flushed out. Their families, too, are supported to ensure that the issue doesn’t go beyond the school walls.
What puzzles and infuriates me is that we do not offer the same to adults. How can education claim to take bullying seriously when it does not work to end workplace bullying?
Individuals can be at the mercy of a powerful a senior colleague, and you’ll see them wither – physically, emotionally, professionally – before your eyes. Absence rates increase, skills diminish, they may be depressed, consider self-harming, or worse. Their livelihoods are at stake, their very sense of self threatened. This can all too easily lead to a downward spiral that affects everyone – the children, colleagues or that person’s self-esteem.
So what do we tell children who are being bullied? We tell them to speak up. We tell adults to blow the whistle.
There’s no denying it: doing it takes a lot of guts. By highlighting this issue, you are making yourself vulnerable. There is very little support. Other colleagues may be supportive but ultimately they don’t want to be the next target. The unions may be of some support, but they don’t have to face that person daily in order to pay their mortgage. Many teachers just knuckle down or buckle under the stress.
We know of the mental health crisis within teaching. I suspect that workplace bullying plays a major role.
Read the full article ‘Teachers must be whistleblowers about workplace bullying’
Have you blown the whistle? Been supported, ignored or even left the profession because if it? Please tell us your thoughts in comment sor via Twitter ~Tamsin
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